Birthing Pups – Zoë Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe

Birthing Pups

The Bitch is birthing
in a nest of torn scraps of cloth,
blankets, towels, bits of fluff – even belly fur,
all scrabbled together. A rats nest almost.

Her collection is smattered with red droplets,
pain smearing across the gathered comforts.

I sit on the edge of the action. Waiting to be called.
My tiny fingers fit where no adults can.
Hooking out trapped limbs,
flopping them free or cleaning tiny mouths,
membranous yet pin sharp teeth already.
Rubbing limp back to breath;
damp sodden fur – little rags.

Or the worst,
loosing the taut cords
slipping them free
only to have her bite too close.
Small strings of purple
easing out, teasing loose.
The knots uncoil –
I cannot push them back.


Zoë is a Poet and Mum from Dukinfield. She has an MA in Poetry from Bath Spa University. Her work has appeared in Magma, Curly Mind, Clear Poetry, Lakeview Journal, Interpreter’s House, Picaroon Poetry and The Lake amongst others.

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